Grackle & Sun

Archive for the tag “sandstone”

A Glimpse of the Land of Enchantment

Roadtrip to New Mexico.  The American West has ridiculously huge skies.

aridiculousamountofsky

Hot desert down below; cool mountains above. All redolent with the scent of pine, cedar, juniper, and desert sage. These are the Sandia Mountains. Albuquerque lies below.

sandias

Petroglyphs carved into volcanic basalt.

petroglyphs

Darkling beetles guard the path ass-up. They are also called stink beetles. This is their warning.

darklingbeetle

On the sandstone bluffs at El Malpais.  Ask me about how we got chased by a black bear up here. Yeah. Black bears on bluffs. Big ones. In the desert. Who knew? Not I, said the cat. Very fast runners, black bears.

sandstonebluffs

As far as you can see, below these bluffs, is an ancient lava field.  Much is grown over with the resilient plants and trees that are native here–but not all.  The black basalt peeks through in many large patches.

basaltbelow2

See those two tiny dots below? That’s my son and my husband. Notice I am not there. I am safely on terra mas firma trying not to toss my lunch while I watch in horror and admiration–but mostly horror–as they climb the tallest of the sandstone bluffs they could find.

omg

More sandstone.  From a reasonable vantage point.

elmalpais

La Ventana Natural Arch. My favorite.

laventana

Hiking through the lava fields.

lavafields

The mountains outside Santa Fe.

santafemts

Glorious, glorious place. Had to share. As soon as I finish with some plant id-ing, I’ll post photos of the native flora there. So many beautiful blooming flowers. Next time, I hope to see even more of New Mexico. I am thoroughly enchanted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ste. Genevieve County Vol. 3: Hickory Canyons

This place.  This place was a total surprise.  I’ve traveled all over the world, seen some of the most moving and bold landscapes ever.  And while Missouri is beautiful, it’s not beautiful in the big, super raw, punch to the solar plexus way that, say, the Rockies are or southern Utah or coastal California.  It leans toward pastoral beauty in the farmlands and rugged old beauty in the Ozarks, river beauty along the Missouri or the Mississippi.  But Hickory Canyons was different.  Somehow.  This place was altering.

It is quiet—out of the way, off some gravel road.  The feeling here is the opposite of Pickle Springs.  There are no signs, no catchy names.  Just the ground, just the trees, the water and the rocks.   How good it felt here.  There is some ground that transports you when you cross its boundaries, takes to to another place, someplace otherworldly.  That was not this ground.  This place was very… real.  It caught me off guard and then guided me along the moss-lined path.  This is a place that loosens your skin of the tautness from city life, from jobs and money and stress, that stretches you.  This is a place that beckons your bones to sink into the soil and remember the sacredness of your humanity and your connection to what is under your feet.  You know what Hickory Canyons reminded me of?  A friend.  Not the kind that is only interested in you when they need your ear or your shoulder or your stuff but never remembers your birthday.  No, this place is the friend that makes you stew on a cold day, that calls bullshit when you need it called, that will laugh with you and get angry with you, and always sings to you on your birthday.  How’s that for some geological anthropomorphization?  It’s the best I can do, because the pictures don’t do it justice.  I would walk this trail every day if I could.

Lobelia cardinalis in the sun.

I’d love it if someone could ID this one. I’ve never seen a mushroom like it before.

And there you have it.  A wonderful weekend full of geological wonders, hiking goodness, land-bonding, friends, food, drink, celebration, knitting, campfires, banana boats, and laughter.  It’s good to get out and see the world.

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